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Wear a Mask, Be a Hero - the Nassau County Challenge!
Wear a Mask, Be a Hero - the Nassau County Challenge! It is no secret that the Novel SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread through Nassau County. Although many individuals have only mild symptoms, individuals over 65 years of age are at high risk for serious complications from CoViD-19. Public Health officials have noticed that infections are occurring in high numbers among extended family groups. The return to the classrooms when school reopens is likely to increase the chance of exposure among those living in multi-generational households. Nassau County Emergency Management has issued a challenge to ALL age groups to “Wear a Mask, Be a Hero!” and slow the spread of CoViD-19 in our county. Now show us how you are rising to the challenge during the month of August!
The challenge rules are simple:
1. Submit your unique short video (10 seconds or less) showing how you, your business, or organization are making a difference by wearing a mask
2. ONLY the words “Wear a Mask, Be a Hero” will be accepted
3. Include any Nassau County location, school, business, neighborhood, park, or beach spot. Get creative and capture the #NassauSafe spirit!
4. No more than three people in a video
5. E-mail videos to: EOC.PUBLICINFO@nassauflem.com
6. By submitting your video you grant exclusive rights for its use to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
Be creative and challenge others, ages 3 to 103, help those who need it (young children, special needs, and technically challenged), and spread the word! "Wear a Mask, Be a Hero" videos submitted for the contest will be judged by our panel: Nassau County Sheriff, Bill Leeper; the Emergency Management Director, Greg Foster, and Emergency Operations Center PIO, Dave Richardson. We will announce winners each week, the number of winners will depend upon the number of videos we receive. Each winner will receive a #NassauSafe T-shirt that says, “Wear a Mask, Be a Hero.”
Current Testing Options in Nassau County (as of 7/30/2020)
Emergency Management Announces Additional CoViD-19 Test Site
through Partnership with Target Nassau County, FL
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has partnered with the Target Corporation to sponsor seven CoViD-19 testing locations across the state. One of these drive-up sites will be located in the parking lot of the Yulee Target store located at 463737 SR-200 in Nassau County. Testing provided through the site is free of charge and available to anyone over 18 years of age. Specimen collection at the Yulee Target site will take place from 0900 hours to 1600 hours, seven days a week beginning Saturday, July 25th. The site will be operational for four weeks. The FDEM is providing the necessary staffing and personal protective equipment for the operation and is being supported by NCEM and NCSO. Individuals who go to the Target test site in Yulee should have photo identification with them. Upon arrival, each person to be tested will register their name and contact information and then return to their vehicle or wait in a shaded area until they are notified that their specimen collection kit is ready. The samples will be sent to certified laboratories for testing; results are expected to be available within five to seven days from the date of collection.
Public Health Advisory - Florida Surgeon General
On 20 July, Dr. Scott Rivkee, Florida’s Surgeon General, issued an UPDATE to Florida’s Public Health Advisories. It includes this guidance:
-- All individuals should refrain from participating in social or recreational gatherings of more than ten people. In gatherings of fewer than ten, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from each other and wear a face-covering.
-- Face-coverings can reduce disease transmission by an individual who is infected, whether they have symptoms or not. The face-covering reduces the infectious particles that are released into the air when an individual speaks, coughs, or sneezes; it may also protect individuals by reducing the concentration of particles that are inhaled.
-- With a few exceptions (e.g., infants under two years of age, or removal of the face-covering is required for an activity like dentistry or eating) every individual in Florida should wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth in any setting where social distancing is not possible, both indoors and outdoors; this includes in your own home when visitors are present.
-- All individuals over 65 years of age, and those of any age with health conditions that increase their risk for complications from an infection, should limit personal interactions with non-household members and take these protective actions:
- maintain six feet of distance from others;
- wear a face-covering when closer contact is unavoidable;
- wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoid all unnecessary touching of eyes, nose, and mouth;
- wash hands first if face must be touched;
- clean and disinfect all touched surfaces, including door handles.
-- Face-coverings are not a substitute for social distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when you are ill. All of these mitigation measures should be carefully followed together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Seidel briefs Board of Nassau County Commissioners on COVID-19
Dr. Ngo-Seidel, Director, Florida Department of Health of Nassau County, gave a very interesting and informative presentation to the Board of County Commissioners at its meeting of July 8, 2020. Here is a synopsis of that discussion presented in a question and answer format. Taken from the Fernandina Observer.
WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19?
The website of the Florida Department of Health is the best source of information.
It provides information on case status, the rate of hospitalizations, test positivity rates in addition to other important demographic data the median age, sex and ethnicity of those testing positive. Statewide statistics are provided as well as individual county profiles. It is updated daily at 11 am.
“It is available to everyone all the time,” is a comment Dr. Seidel reiterated several times during her presentation.
WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I WAS EXPOSED TO CORONAVIRUS?
As explained on the website, people with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms — ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after contact with the virus.
Use the CDC’s self-checker (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) to help make decisions and seek appropriate medical care regarding COVID-19.
You may have COVID-19 if you have these symptoms or combinations of symptoms:
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
NOTE: Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
WHAT IS CONTACT TRACING?
Contact Tracing is a tool used in public health and is an important part of a containment strategy. Contact tracing attempts to limit the spread of a disease by identifying who has been exposed, who is ill and who needs to be isolated. (For more information view chart at end of the article.)
The Department of Health relies on the individual who tested positive (the case) to provide the names of individuals who they have been in close contact with in the last 14 days. The Department of Health will NOT compromise confidentiality.
WILL MY CONTACTS KNOW IF I GOT THEM SICK?
All public health professionals who conduct contact tracing are highly trained in confidentiality. When they talk to individuals who have been in contact with a case, they do not share any information about that person under any circumstance.
WHO DOES CONTACT TRACING?
The Department of Health currently has 12 individuals performing contact tracing but recently received additional funding to hire more personnel. The goal is to have 25 qualified individuals in place.
Ideally, individual names provided to the Department of Health by the case would be contacted within 24-48 hours.
The exponential growth in positive cases has created a massive workload. The Department of Health encourages cases to contact the individuals they may have exposed to the virus if they feel comfortable doing so.
Said Seidel, “it is not about places, it is about people.” Siedel also noted that about one in five cases don’t know where they may have contracted the virus.
Education is a large part of the contact tracing effort as well.
WHAT IS CLOSE CONTACT?
Close contact is defined as being within six feet of an individual for a period of 15-20 minutes, usually in an enclosed space.
This explains why most infections result from the home or workplace.
Briefly standing in line at the grocery store, for instance, is NOT considered close contact.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE?
Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
Isolation is a term used for individuals who have tested positive and is intended to separate them from individuals who are not sick.
Quarantine refers to restricting the movement of individuals who may have been exposed to a contagious disease — to see if they become sick. A quarantine, in the case of COVID-19, is for 14 days.
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and the onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” The incubation period for COVID-19 is 2 to 14 days.
“If I go out and get immediately tested and it shows that and I am fine, it doesn’t mean anything,” explained Dr. Seidel. She went on to explain that, “someone exposed to the virus may not develop the virus on Day 2, Day 5, Day 7 or Day 9 . . .” Said Seidel, “COVID-19 can be spread up two days before symptoms are experienced.” In essence, someone exposed to the virus is like a ticking time bomb. Hence the importance of wearing masks and quarantining.
DO MASKS (really) SERVE A PURPOSE?
Masks do serve a purpose. Masks are a protection measure. Because so many individuals who carry COVID-19 do not present any outward symptoms, it’s important to ensure that you are not spreading the disease and that you protect yourself. Individuals can spread the disease even if they haven’t tested positive.
WHAT TESTS ARE USED TO DIAGNOSE COVID-19?
PCR tests, which stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction are the most common test and regarded as the most accurate. It requires a throat swab. Samples are sent to a testing lab and results usually take a few days.
An antigen test is known for providing “rapid results.” An antigen is a term for any foreign object – like a virus or bacteria. – found in the body. Like the PCR, it requires a nasal or throat swab with results available in several hours. Often described as something akin to a strep test.
An antibody test requires a blood sample but only shows if an individual has had a past infection. A person who tests positive for the antibodies is not considered a case. An antibody test is not a diagnostic tool but instead is used primarily to track the spread of the coronavirus through a population.
IF AN INDIVIDUAL TESTS POSITIVE AND THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS MADE AWARE, HOW IS THE SITUATION MONITORED?
While the Department of Health will call cases to follow up and to see if there are any additional needs, self-isolation and quarantine is a voluntary agreement. Self-governance is the rule.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF COVID-19 IN NASSAU COUNTY?
As presented on the Nassau County dashboard Wednesday, July 8, 2020, there have been 359 cases, 27 hospitalizations and two deaths here in Nassau County.
The most up to date information can be accessed at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429,
Reported Seidel, “We’ve had an increase in cases, an increase in percent positivity. You all [speaking to the commissioners] took the lead and take action to prevent the further spread in our community . . . not only by reinforcing the strategies with regard to Phase II of re-opening [but also by encouraging] limited capacity, social distancing, staying apart, avoiding crowds and then the mask order that took effect last week.”
Dr. Seidel went on to say, “Hopefully, we will see a decrease or a flattening in our cases but we might still see an increase because there is a lag between when we take action and when we see results.”
WHERE CAN I GET TESTED?
The Nassau County Department publishes a flyer that lists places and times. However, as Siedel noted, supplies are often limited and that continues to be a challenge.
Residents of Nassau County can also go to any one of the free Duval County testing sites – a list of which is available at https://floridadisaster.org/covid19/testing-sites/#duval .
In addition, many local urgent care centers and health care providers now offer testing.
While the news that Dr. Seidel delivered with regard to the increase in cases and in positivity rates was discouraging, she ended her presentation by saying,
“I don’t want [residents of Nassau County] to be fearful, I want them to be cautious.”
For the latest news and information and County statistics, go to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov and to view a very comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQs) you can visit this page https://floridahealthcovid19.gov
Executive Order Regarding Face Coverings in Nassau County
The Official Executive Order #16 executed by the Board of County Commissioners, has now been filed with the Clerk of Courts. The signed four-page document is available here
Emergency Order - Mandatory Masks in City of Fernandina Beach
Social Distancing Demonstated
ASL Video Series: COVID-19 Do Your Part to Slow the Spread
A message from Sheriff Bill Leeper
A message about School Lunches from Nassau County School District
What are Community Mitigation and Social Distancing Measures for a Pandemic?
Community mitigation measures, such as cancelling or postponing large festivals and other non-essential gatherings, are common-sense measures taken to reduce person-to-person transmission of pathogens. Social distancing helps stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. People who are at higher risk from infections (e.g., older individuals, those with other health issues like heart/lung disease or diabetes, babies) are encouraged to avoid crowds as much as possible and minimize contact with others. For instance, plan ahead to avoid shopping at peak hours and reduce frequency of trips to the store. Do not attend large gatherings if you are:
• immune compromised
• over the age of 65
• living with a chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease
• a contact of a known or suspected case of COVID-19
• exposed to someone with a known respiratory illness
• a domestic traveler to/from an area with widespread community transmission of the novel Coronavirus
• an international traveler, especially to destinations under a Level 3 travel advisory for “widespread or ongoing community spread” of the novel Coronavirus
Everyone plays a part in lowering the impact of emerging diseases within our communities and workplaces. Take action every day to impede the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza. Preventive actions include:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, you can use a hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol – but that is not the best choice – use soap and water whenever possible.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay isolated when you are sick – this cannot be emphasized enough.
• People who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay isolated at home until they are free of fever and any other symptoms without the use of any medications for at least 24 hours. Employees should contact their healthcare provider before returning to work.
• Before traveling, check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each intended destination.
• Any employee who becomes sick while traveling must promptly consult with their healthcare provider and understand that they should notify their supervisor for guidance before returning to work. .
FDOH’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage FloridaHealthCoViD19.gov remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida. Their COVID-19 Call Center is active 24/7 for questions about this virus: (866) 779-6121 or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
All other local questions should be directed to the Emergency Operations Center at (904) 548-0900.
Vision: A county that is aware, prepared, and resilient to all hazards.
Mission: Helping the whole community before, during, and after disasters.
Do YOUR Part - Get Involved
Residents have personal responsibility for their safety. Our free Preparedness Guide has loads of good information about local hazards and things you should do to mitigate risks, reduce your vulnerability, and increase your resilience! Sign up for Alert Nassau Citizen Alerts to receive emergency incident notification calls, texts, emails, and/or smartphone app messages. Or just text OneNassau to 888777 to get text-only alerts. Sign up for E-Notify at the bottom of this page to receive text alerts whenever NCEM posts News Flashes or makes changes to our Calendar.
Emergency Operations CenterMain Line / InformationPhone: (904) 548-0900
Greg FosterEM DirectorPhone: (904) 548-0900
Martha Oberdorfer, MPH, FPEMSr EM Planner / Accreditation MgrPhone: (904) 548-0931
Sidney BeckomTraining & Exercise PlannerPhone: (904) 548-0953
Chelle MelleckerFiscal SpecialistPhone: (904) 548-0952
Paula SellekVolunteer CoordinatorPhone: (904) 548-0940
Mark WilsonMitigation CoordinatorPhone: 904-548-0943